He may not be the biggest name on the team -- heck, he may not be the fourth- or fifth-most famous Dodger -- but when the chips are down and L.A. needs a big performance, Chris Taylor is always there. The winner of the 2017 NLCS MVP, Taylor advanced the Dodgers past the Cardinals with a walk-off home run in the Wild Card game.
Then, with the Dodgers needing a win to keep their season alive on Thursday, he delivered three massive home runs in the Dodgers' 11-2 victory against the Braves. He became just the 11th player in history to hit three homers in a postseason game, and was the first since Kiké Hernández pulled it off as Taylor's teammate in '17. (And Hernández is having his own pretty good postseason this year, too.)
Taylor got started early on Thursday, smashing a go-ahead home run against Max Fried in the second inning.
It gave some life to a Dodgers crowd that was maybe a little anxious and subdued after Freddie Freeman put Atlanta ahead with a first-inning home run.
Especially this dude. This dude loved it.
Taylor was back at it in the fifth inning. This two-run blast gave the Dodgers some breathing room with a 6-2 lead.
Though he's now injured and out for the rest of the postseason, Justin Turner was plenty happy in the dugout. He might not be able to run, but he can certainly hop.
In the opposite dugout, Fried -- who had been pulled before Taylor came to the plate -- looked, um, less pleased.
Then Taylor stepped to the plate in the seventh. The crowd cheered wildly. Could he do it -- could he join the likes of Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and George Brett with his third long ball of the night?
Oh yeah, he did.
The fan who caught it -- decked out in an Orel Hershiser jersey which we imagine he might swap out for one with Taylor on the back -- celebrated wildly. The fans in the rows underneath him look like they're the crowd in a renaissance painting, happy just to be near the home run ball.
The camera zoomed in on Braves manager Brian Snitker, who looked like a person trying to avoid an awkward interaction with a former co-worker, refusing to look anywhere except straight out to the field.
Taylor also kept up the stoic routine while he rounded the bases. But once he crossed home plate, he couldn't hold it in any longer.
Back in the dugout, Albert Pujols lifted No. 3 up in a giant bear hug. Pujols is one of the few players to have hit three dingers in a postseason game, so he knows exactly how special this performance was.
The Dodgers have now won seven consecutive elimination games and their season stays alive. Dodgers fans will now be hoping Taylor can give a repeat performance this weekend in Atlanta to send L.A. back to its fourth World Series appearance in the last five years.